Drugovich, Cuomo, Harris Rose To Meet Crisis


Drugovich, Cuomo,

Harris Rose To Meet Crisis

That’s the spirit.

Margaret Drugovich’s latest Sunday YouTube video (linked on www.AllOTSEGO.com) was like clouds opening and the sun shining through. Watch it. You’ll feel a lot better about the near-term future.

As Drugovich has proved again and again in her 12-year tenure as Hartwick College president, she’s a gutsy lady.  A leader. A tough one, and an inspirational one.

First, even though the COVID-19 threat is quickly diminishing – yes, it could rebound – it’s gutsy to decide this far out (mid-June) to move forward (late August), and to pair that decision with a tightly reasoned plan.

Drugovich will provide more particulars on her weekly video this coming Sunday, the 28th, but one provision that’s emerged so far is tough-minded and reassuring: As campus reopens Aug. 22, all members of the college community will have to read and sign “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College,” requiring them to wear masks, social-distance and adhere to other safety-assuring (but not safety-ensuring) measures.

“We just don’t think individuals have the right to put other people at risk,” Drugovich asserted.

That’s leadership: Moving forward forcefully, reopening the campus, even while understanding the virus will still be with us. Mum SUNY Oneonta is a sad contrast.

President Drugovich is not alone. There are other examples of, yes, leaders. People who are not rash, but not frozen by fear or adversity, moving to reopen their enterprises sensibly, but with an understanding there will be setbacks.

There will be successes, but some failures are inevitable. And yet they act.

Governor Cuomo, of course, is a sterling national example of what people hope for in time of crisis. He didn’t choke, even when faced with hundreds of deaths and mass graves in the world’s greatest city, a challenge that would stagger most people.

He focused on data, and didn’t panic as the data worsened, even though his face became more ashen and the bags grew under his eyes. When the numbers didn’t drop as badly as predicted, then rebounded, he didn’t hesitate to reopen our Empire State, step by determined step.

He communicated, which Drugovich considers critical, too. And his daily briefings, he brags, attracted 59 million viewers. “There are only 18 million people in New York,” he exclaimed in awe and delight.

How good a governor is Andrew Cuomo? Mixed at best, his Buffalo Billion buffeted by corruption and imprisonment of close associates, his support for truly awful legislation – the Green Light Bill and “bail reform” come to mind – and choking off natural gas from energy-starved portions of the state.

But when he needed to step up, he did.

(Bill De Blasio’s dilly-dallying and erratic President Trump didn’t fare as well.)

Another example in a more limited sphere is Greg Harris, the CGP graduate who rose to president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. From the day that Hall was forced to shut down, he sprang into action, focusing on what would be needed to reopen again, the no-touch doors, temperature checks, no dead-end exhibits and more, as our managing editor, Libby Cudmore, reported last week. The Rock Hall opened Monday, June 15.

You can even include restaurateurs Brian Wrubleski at Cooperstown’s Mel’s at 22, or Mike Joubert at Oneonta’s Wise Guys Sammy’s, the sandwich shop. They doubled-down on takeout and promotion, and no doubt got through the crisis better than many. Inspiring stuff.

People like Drugovich, Cuomo, Harris, Wrubleski and Joubert aren’t reckless or dismissive of troubles ahead.

Drugovich put it this way: “It would be magical thinking that we won’t have the virus in the fall. We WILL have the virus in the fall. We’re going to have to learn to cope with it.”

They’re just brave enough and bold enough – and sufficiently prudent – to move forward because they have to – as do the rest of us – despite expected pitfalls certain to come.

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